WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2009|
Alex Ford and Jas Shaw take their primate dancing troupe to the same level of ecstatic head-bopping, utilizing a small amount of instruments and sounds to produce large, sprawling dance hooks. Simian Mobile Disco's sophomore release, Temporary Pleasure may sound like a reference to serotonin-releasing rave drugs, but the enjoyment is anything but temporary once the guest spots kick in, with notable appearances from Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, Jaimie Lidell, and more. Still, the audio has it's ups and downs, most notably "The Audacity Of Huge" which just sounds silly in comparison to all the other actually good tracks.
The first (and then almost only) thing that impressed me was Simian's ability to take a singular floppy bass noise and make an entire song out of it. There are barely any complicated noises in opener "10000 Horses Can't Be Wrong," in fact it could probably be recreated with an amateur M-Audio keyboard and a drum machine. And yet it feels like the heat of a packed dance floor, surrounded by smoke and lasers and stuff that makes your eyes gloss over . It barely even has a thematic idea, or a discernible melody (oooh! ascending random intervals! space noises!), and yet, it has momentum, and it has a distinct pulse, and it is almost impossible to tell when the next song starts and the first stops. This mix 'aint dead, kids. Take notes. When making an album of dance music, each track should just melt into the next.
However the dual edged sword of making a successful techno/house/whatever-this-is record is the context and the medium. Do we really want to hear the one-two-three-four of a head pounding bass drum for forty minutes while walking to work or sitting in our cars in traffic? Sometimes. But it's not chock full of replay value, barring heavily intoxication or other state of mind alterations. That's the genius: Simian Mobile Disco knows this. They engadge the audience at a very rudimentary level, which is totally fine; dance music should be primal. Note that this doesn't mean the Hot Chip tinged guest spot by Alexis Taylor, or Jamie Lidell lending his electro-soul to "Off The Map," or even "Pinball" aren't spectacular; quite the contrary, these are the best tracks on the record. But really most of Temporary Pleasure is too "Audacity Of Huge" (seriously, who made that song? It is all kinds of goofy). In short: strap on your dancing shoes, or listen to something else. - joe puglisi